By André B. Sobocinski, Historian, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
On the morning of September 15, 1944, the 1st Marine Division began their assault on a tiny coral island in the Central Pacific called Peleliu. For Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Eleuterio “Joe” Marquez this would be a baptism of fire. The 19-year old Los Angeles native had enlisted a year earlier with his two best friends, each anxious to make their own contributions to the good fight. After a whirlwind of boot camp and hospital corps school in San Diego followed by field medical training at Camp Elliott, Marquez was now part of this deadly assault on the highly fortified island.